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   from the issue of March 25, 2004

‘Transition to University’ report available

“Everyone A Learner, Everyone A Teacher: Report From The Transition To University Task Force, December 2003” is now available from Gail Hackwith of the Office of Undergraduate Studies and on the Web at

The Transition to University Task Force was appointed in May 2003 by Richard Edwards, former senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, to review and assess the effectiveness of first-year undergraduate orientation programs and courses. This review resulted in a proposed framework or plan for coordi-nating and supporting these separate programs. Rita Kean, dean of undergraduate studies, was chair of the 16-member task force.

According to the report, the task force work was guided by the question: “How do we better prepare our students to be intentional learners?” Understanding the challenges that first-year students face as they make the transition to college life lets faculty and staff identify key resources and strategies that will ease that transition.

According to the report, whether at New Student Enrollment or at a mid-semester checkpoint, the university community must provide students with the information they need to understand expectations and requirements and have the information necessary to make informed decisions about their academic direction.

The task force affirmed the importance of academic advising in assisting students to make proper choices and to formulate a coherent academic strategy. Also, the task force affirmed support for student engagement in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities of value in developing a sense of place in the campus community.

Task force members propose that all students entering UNL, whether in their first year of college or as transfer students, would be best served by a core educational experience that orients them to UNL academically and socially. The task force’s major recommendations focus on a content-based, first-year core course, New Student Enrollment, and academic support and advising activities.

Part of the task force’s information-gathering was done by listening to student and faculty. Students were invited to offer their perspectives on their college experiences, with particular attention focused on first-year students. Major focuses of the student experience concerned the effectiveness of orientation, advising, student expectations, academic engagement, a guided exploration of a discipline, and a conveying of the importance of a UNL education.

The task force met with a group of two administrators with faculty rank and eight faculty members known for their success in teaching the most heavily enrolled first-year courses. The purpose of the discussions was to gain additional perspectives and reflect on the first-year experience. One of the focuses is to create an environment that inspires first-year students to take on the role of active learners/participants in the discovery of knowledge.

In summary, the task force recommends a concerted and coordinated effort to better and more efficiently support first-year students’ transition to the culture of intellectual engagement and high achievement that is the hallmark (and benefit) of study at a Research I institution.



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Second construction company enters negotiations on North Stadium project
‘Transition to University’ report available
UNL High School students beat national scores